Becoming a yoga teacher and becoming a yoga therapist is not the same thing.  You will become a yoga teacher (via yoga teacher training) first before you can move on to yoga therapy.  The requirement to enroll in our yoga therapy training is that you have at least a 200 RYT certification or are a licensed professional working in a similar field (e.g. social work).

When training to become a yoga teacher, you learn the history of yoga, different teaching techniques, how to use your voice to soothe and cue your students, the different asanas and the benefits that they provide to the body, meditation techniques, etc.  Your objective is to be able to take what you know about the practice of yoga and lead a group of students to through a class.

Typically yoga teachers teach group classes at studios and gyms, although some do teach individuals privately.  Typically yoga therapists work with clients individually, but they also facilitate group therapy as well. Yoga therapy focuses on one specific area and how yoga can help with that area. 

When training to become a yoga therapist, it is important that you are focused inward and are able to heal yourself first.  You cannot help anyone or heal anyone unless you have experienced it yourself.  That’s not to say that you must have struggled with something in order to provide yoga therapy to those who suffer; it just means that you must learn how to heal yourself, whatever needs to be healed, before you can help heal others.  Once you are able to use yoga therapy to help yourself, to make a personal transformation, they you will be able to share this experience with others to help them make their personal transformation. 

Yoga teachers may offer a variety of yoga classes, including classes for individuals or groups of people with specific conditions. Common examples include yoga for pregnant women, yoga for heart patients, and yoga for cancer survivors. In these classes, good yoga teachers must learn the contraindications for working with people that have these conditions and respect those contraindications while teaching the students appropriate yoga. The intention in these types of classes is to teach these students how to practice yoga while respecting their health conditions. 

The intention changes in yoga therapy sessions for individuals or groups with specific conditions. After an appropriate intake and assessment, therapists will often focus on the specific symptoms that trouble their clients and identify methods to help them manage those symptoms.  

Although both yoga teaching and yoga therapy are valid and valuable professions, they are different. It is important that we as a yoga community become clear about these distinctions.